Just so everyone knows, I had to take a snowboarding lesson for work last Saturday. It was exciting and nice because they footed the bill. (I get my cheapness from my Dad, actually.) But really - I learned a lot, even if I couldn't move the next day. Yes, I really couldn't move because I was so sore. Oddly enough it was my arms, shoulders and back that were most sore - but I'm getting away from my actual point, here. Yes, I do have a point!
Being taught how to snowboard reminded me of writing in a very peculiar way. I kept wanting to look at what others were doing and do it too. But I was missing something. My instructor kept telling me to focus on the little things. Knees bent, lift toes, watch your arms. . . All these little things were affecting me and thus the reason that I kept falling flat on my face. Or butt. I did both a lot. I even had this massive fall that I literally went tumbling over my board a couple of times before standing on my head in one of those cartoon-like moments. Before you hyperventilate, I wasn't hurt. Much.
You're probably wondering what this has to do with anything. Well, learning to snowboard is exactly like learning how to write. We keep looking at all these fantastic writers and want to do what they do, but we have to remember to first start with the basics. You can't expect to get up on the mountain and rule it on your first time - just the same way you can't expect to knock out a publishable work on first try.
You have to remember those basics of honing your craft. And yes, you are going to crash and burn, i.e. someone's going to hate it. And that's okay. You just have to be strong enough to pick yourself back up and work on it again. Bend your knees (adjust your characters), lift your toes (believable and workable dialog), and watch your arms (show don't tell).
You're going to have to remember these little things in order for things to work out. Eventually, just like master snowboarders and writers, it will become second nature. But when they fall down - and sometimes they do too - they think back to the basics too.
Okay, and just for fun, the Ski Area I went to was only three miles away from Yellowstone Park, meaning there was lots of fun wildlife. These are a couple of pictures I took of the wildlife on the side of the road on my way home. Enjoy!